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August 30, 2015 / 15 Elul, 5775
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Going Squirrelly


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I was writing in my home office, and the back door was open, letting the breeze waft in. It was quiet, except for a loud squawking squirrel outside. In fact, he was so loud that it sounded as if he was in the next room. I stopped typing and unsteadily dragged myself to the dining room door, terrified to open it.

My daughters’ voices carried from upstairs, and I heard them starting to come down.

“Stay upstairs and hide!” I yelled in a panic.

I was now certain that there was a squirrel in the house, but what could I do? The thought of rabies sent waves of terror through my shaking body. I opened the door just enough to survey the room and catch a glimpse of the squirrel running up the window drapes where I watched in horror as he perched, squawking like a maniac. I ran into the office, grabbed the phone, and dialed 911.

“911, how can I help you?”

“We need help! My children are hiding, I’m behind the door, and he’s going to kill us!”

“Ma’am, who is trying to kill you? Is it a man or a woman?”

“The squirrel, he broke into the house.”

I heard a chuckle. “Ma’am, are you telling me that there is a squirrel in your house?”

“Yes, send someone over – quick! He’s crazy, he’ll kill us.”

“Hold the line for animal control.” I then heard music emanating from the phone while the squirrel squawked louder.

“Animal control, how can I assist you?”

“There is a squirrel in my house. He’s going to kill us. Get him out!”

“Okay, not a problem. I’ll put you on the list and send someone out to help.”

“When?”

“Not sure exactly, but before next weekend.”

Was she kidding me? This was Sunday. What would happen in another five days, let alone another five minutes? I hung up, paced behind the door, did some deep breathing, and thought of all the courageous things I’d accomplished in my life. I was determined to add the confrontation with Mr. Squirrel to that list. I slowly pushed open the door, forcing myself into my dining room to face my opponent.

Mr. Squirrel crept back and forth on the rod holding up my floral drapes. He squawked at me and I yelled at him, which only made him angrier and more frightened. I forced myself to ignore the fact that he might be dangerous. He had to leave my house under no uncertain terms.

Praying, I slowly walked on jelly legs past the windows, out of the dining room, and into the kitchen. I saw that he’d entered my home through a large hole that he had chewed through the screen door. I carefully opened the door, propping it open wide to give the squirrel ample space to exit. With shaking hands I grabbed some snack food and walked back into the room of horrors, and threw the nosh on the table to lure him down.

“Come squirrel,” I coaxed, sounding more menacing than tempting.

He squawked some more and did his tightrope act – but did not come down. Apparently, he wasn’t in the mood for snacks. In fact, he began making more strange noises and I was terrified that he was calling in the troops. After all, my back door was wide open, and maybe his 911 helpline was more useful than mine had been.

Frantically, I walked back into the kitchen and got my broom. Forget about feeding him; he needed to go.

I walked back into the dining room, looked him straight in the eye, and said clearly, “I didn’t want to have to resort to this, but I’ll use it if I have to.”

With that, I raised the broom and began to come after him. Within five seconds, he jumped off the rod onto the table and out the open back door. I banged the door shut and yelled to my children that the coast was clear.

Events like my squirrel invasion are not random. Hashem has a purpose to everything that happens to us. It wasn’t until a little time had passed that I began to understand the lesson of that experience.

As a mother of teenagers, I had been coming up against some new challenges that I had not experienced before. Teenagers, unlike younger children, have a stronger rational voice and sometimes test and challenge their surroundings in confrontational ways. On most days, I’m up to the task at hand and succeed in my goal. Even so, there have been times when I have felt overwhelmed and unqualified for the job, and my confidence was beginning to waver.

My uninvited animal guest, whom Hashem had sent into my home, served to highlight a point. Yes, bad influences and challenges are right outside my back door, and can easily enter my safe haven. However, I have the courage, the strength, the insight and surely a weapon much stronger and more powerful than a broom with which to show those influences a very wide open door.

Just by living a life of Torah, with my faith firmly in Hashem, I can handle each challenge facing me. I didn’t even need to call 911 or animal control to find that out. I figured it all out on my own.

Okay, with a little help from the squirrel!

Shayna Hunt is a professional freelance writer and the author of three published books, as well as a costumed historical interpreter at an outdoor museum that depicts life in the 19th century. She lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with her husband and three daughters. She can be reached at Shaynamy@aol.com.

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